Epidermal cell differentiation in cotton mediated by the homeodomain leucine zipper gene, GhHD-1

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Journal Article
PLANT JOURNAL, 2012, 71 (3), pp. 464 - 478
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Gossypium hirsutum L. (cotton) fibres are specialized trichomes a few centimetres in length that grow from the seed coat. Few genes directly involved in the differentiation of these epidermal cells have been identified. These include GhMYB25-like and GhMYB25, two related MYB transcription factors that regulate fibre cell initiation and expansion. We have also identified a putative homeodomain leucine zipper (HD-ZIP) transcription factor, GhHD-1, expressed in trichomes and early fibres that might play a role in cotton fibre initiation. Here, we characterize GhHD-1 homoeologues from tetraploid G. hirsutum and show, using reporter constructs and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), that they are expressed predominantly in epidermal tissues during early fibre development, and in other tissues bearing epidermal trichomes. Silencing of GhHD-1 reduced trichome formation and delayed the timing of fibre initiation. Constitutive overexpression of GhHD-1 increased the number of fibres initiating on the seed, but did not affect leaf trichomes. Expression of GhHD-1 in cotton silenced for different fibre MYBs suggest that in ovules it acts downstream of GhMYB25-like, but is unaffected in GhMYB25- or GhMYB109-silenced plants. Microarray analysis of silencing and overexpression lines of GhHD-1 indicated that it potentially regulates the levels of ethylene and reactive oxidation species (ROS) through a WRKY transcription factor and calcium-signalling pathway genes to activate downstream genes necessary for cell expansion and elongation.
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